Last Updated 1/25/06

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LAFCO Decision on Compton Sphere of Influence Continued
City Council to Consider the Issue at its Second Meeting in February

By Cheryl Scott
Bulletin Staff Writer

The Compton City Council has continued its discussion about the pending decision of the Los Angeles County Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO) to take away some of the city’s Sphere of Influence, pending a decision by LAFCO.

The council voted on December 6 to challenge a Draft Municipal Service Review (MSR) prepared by LAFCO. The report recommends moving Rancho Dominguez from Compton’s Sphere of Influence (SOI) and place it in the city of Carson’s SOI.

LAFCOs are agencies established in 2000 to discourage urban sprawl and remove isolated unincorporated areas from county jurisdiction. The agencies are responsible for coordinating changes in local governmental boundaries, including annexations and detachments of territory and incorporations of cities.

LAFCO was to make a decision on the city’s challenge during the last few weeks. To date, it has still not made that decision.

“We have scheduled a meeting with Carson and Long Beach about the matter,” said City Manager Barbara Kilroy. “We want to try to come to an agreement between the three cities. If we can do that, it would be very surprising if LAFCO didn’t concur with the agreement.”

LAFCO is open to conflict of interest charges stemming from the fact that Jim Deer, the mayor of Carson, has a brother on the LAFCO board.

Each city in LAFCO’s jurisdiction has been assigned a Sphere of Interest that includes adjacent unincorporated areas as well as unincorporated areas located entirely within the city’s boundaries. Compton’s SOI includes Willowbrook and Rosewood, which are shared with the city of Los Angeles, and Rancho Dominguez, which is surrounded by Compton.

The territories in question are West Compton and Rancho Dominguez. West Compton is a 588-acre area bounded by Rosecrans on the north, the city’s eastern boundary, Figueroa Street on the west and Alondra Boulevard. The area is 70 percent residential and 30 percent commercial. LAFCO wants to remove this area from Compton’s SOI, except for the unincorporated island on the northeast corner of Central and Rosecrans avenues.

Rancho Dominguez (“Dominguez Hills”) is a 400-acre area just south of Compton’s southern border. It is 90 percent industrial and 10 percent residential.

Stated reasons for the recommendation include the city’s “relatively low general fund revenue.” The removal of Dominguez Hills would leave Compton with an area that is 85 percent residential. Industrial and commercial land produces more revenue than residential.
Other stated reasons for the LAFCO recommendations include the fact that “... the SOI area is not included in the city’s General Plan and the city has not attempted to annex the territory since the SOI was adopted in 1973.”

“That is completely inaccurate,” said Kilroy. “The SOI was included in the city’s original General Plan, adopted in 1969, and retained in all of its subsequent amendments.”

Kilroy said the city is updating the General Plan to include the entire SOI as potential areas of annexation. The report also states that the city of Compton has not tried to annex the territory since the SOI was adopted in 1973.

“In fact, we have attempted to annex several areas that were eventually denied,” said Kilroy. “The Willowbrook annexation was denied by LAFCO. The Rosewood area was denied due to property owner protests. The East Rancho Dominguez area was denied because of business and property owner opposition.”

LAFCO’s recommendation would result in the remaining SOI being comprised of mainly residential development, leaving the city little revenue-producing area for annexation.

“This would, more than likely, exacerbate the city’s difficulty in generating more per capita General Fund revenue,” said Kilroy.

City officials also believe Compton’s economic outlook as described in the LAFCO report was misrepresented. The report stated that the city’s General Fund revenue is “relatively low.”

“The General Fund revenue is modest,” said Kilroy. “But it is comparable to other cities that were not recommended to modify their SOI.”

Compton’s General Fund Revenue is $37,761,432, approximately $403 per capita.

If a compromise can be worked out between the three cities, Compton’s SOI changes will be less drastic than those proposed by LAFCO. Any annexation attempts by the city will be made in the future.





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